Think of it less like a return than a resurrection.
The last season of Stranger Things ended with Hopper presumed dead, a status quo that pretty much everyone knew wasn’t going to last, a suspicion that was confirmed just about the moment promotional materials for the in-production fourth season of the show started trickling out. Now, talking to Total Film, David Harbour, the actor behind Hopper, has a bit more to say about what that survival means.
“I knew. We knew. We had talked about it,” he said, admitting that he, y’know, lied about not knowing about the character’s fate after the end of the third season. These things happen. “I just wanted to preserve the fantasy for everyone. And it’s such a weird position that we’re in now with so much media, that everybody wants to talk to you about it.”
As for the idea of putting Hopper in a new, precarious position, out of the role of small-town police officer and into something fundamentally more precarious, Harbour said it’s been in the cards for a long time. And it’ll be a major reinvention of the character.
“I’ve had those discussions with [the Duffer brothers, the show’s creators] from the very first season. We were always interested in that idea of the Gandalf resurrection— Gandalf the Grey who fights the Balrog and then becomes Gandalf the White. It’s the idea of the resurrection of the character,” he said. “And mythologically, Hopper, in a sense, had to change. I mean, you couldn’t go on the way he was going on. He has to resurrect in some way. So it was a great opportunity to do that. So we’ll see a very different guy going forwards. The same guy but in a different vein. It’s a very cool thing to be able to play.”
The fourth season of Stranger Things was in production when the pandemic shut it down, and is, according to Deadline, hoping to return to active work later this month.
For more, make sure you’re following us on our Instagram @io9dotcom.